Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth -- anonymously and posthumously.

I have been thoroughly humbled by the wisdom of a recent anonymous poster to this blog. Unsure as I am how many readers or subscribers to this blog visit the comments, I felt that the very clever points made were wholly worthy of a post to the main blog.

In summary:
  • Three things dramatically reduce threat generation for any tank, whether their class was intended to tank or not: misses, dodges and parries. Misses are counterbalanced by Hit Rating; dodges & parries are counterbalanced by Expertise.
  • Mend Pet can be used to generate additional threat by way of healer aggro.
  • Mana Potions, Healing Potions and Healthstones all generate threat equivalent to the amount of health/mana returned. Also, use of Fel Mana Potions is probably your best angle here, since it returns mana over time and gives a guaranteed 3200 mana. Additionally, since hunter mechanics don't work off of spell damage, there is no drawback to these potions.

The observation about Fel Mana Potions is simply brilliant. With a healer behind me, it's fairly safe to consume these instead of healing potions, and they don't cause me to suffer an important stat reduction in the way a Fel Regeneration Potion would. In practical terms, a Fel Mana Potion is like a bottle of Liquid Threat (base threat is 0.5x Mana gained). WoWWiki spells it out in their post on Threat:

Threat caused by beneficial effects is divided amongst all NPCs that are aware of the character. This global threat applies to heals, bonus threat from buffs (such as Battle Shout or Arcane Brilliance), and power gains (such as a Mana Potion or Rage Potion).

What's more, the observation about healer aggro positively shamed me. I should have been far more conscious of that. I've mentioned before that I also play a druid. In fact, Gweryc is the first character I've ever really played that wasn't a healer. As many times as I've yelled at my computer screen, fists pumping and voice quavering with nerd rage about tanks that don't understand what healing aggro is -- how could I have overlooked that? I may have been aware of it, but I never considered that it might be exploitable.

This concept is enough to make me reconsider my entire combat strategy and even my spec. Given a patient enough team and a pet trained in Cower, I should be able to send in Cafall first and let him take some damage, then pick up the "bonus threat" from Mend Pet while I immediately take aggro off Cafall with a Raptor Strike or an Explosive Trap. I will absolutely be playing with this idea, and if I can work out how to reliably exploit it, I may even respec into Improved Mend Pet.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A person's abilities are tested best when defending rather than attacking.

When I went back through my last blog entry to add my TankPoints values to the items I'd listed, I thought it was incredibly odd that the resilience elixir had a value of zero. Maybe there was a bug in the TankPoints calculator?

...And then I saw it.

"The critical hit % reduction from Defense and Resilience % may be combined to reduce the chance of being critically hit by a raid boss by 5.6% making the player immune to critical hits." -- WoWWiki

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Shot at 2008-03-13

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Shot at 2008-03-13

Unless I've misunderstood those numbers (1.2% + 4.97% = 6.17%), I had become crit immune without realizing it. WoWWiki lists a macro I can run to double-check:


If the value reported by the macro is zero or negative, then I really am uncrittable against level 73 bosses. What a milestone!

Edit: Confirmed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper.

President Kennedy was right. We should also rest our hopes on flasks, elixirs, and foods. In my ongoing mission to bang my melee-hunting head against the wall in the most efficient way possible, I put together a list* for myself of the more useful self-buffing items. This isn't a terribly informative post, I know -- I'm mainly putting it here for my own reference. I've got a few thoughts at the bottom that might interest you, though.

Isn't it something, the way so many people overlook scrolls?

Elixirs - Battle

Elixirs - Guardian


Foods - Self

Foods - Pet


Stormchops is a very cool item for solo AoE farming, but it has a terribly risky quality in groups: it breaks CC. This may change in patch 2.4, when a number of AoE attacks will be changed so they don't hit CC'd targets.

Hit is a squirrely kind of stat, with some people claiming it's overrated, and others insisting it's the fastest way to improve their dps. I tend to the idea that since all my threat currently comes from raw damage, Hit very likely is my most important stat in my role as a tank until I'm capped. That really elevates the importance of Spicy Hot Talbuk. In an ideal group, with Heroic Presence and a moonkin's Improved Faerie Fire, I may be able to pass on that food and use an agi or stamina booster instead.

* The values in square brackets are TankPoints values for my current gear. Interestingly, the TankPoints value for Major Agility + Major Defense elixirs together is 1661, not 1641. In either case, the two together are theoretically superior to the Fortification flask alone.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Do not be awe struck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can.

I've tried it before, but I thought I'd give another go at a BM build. Hoping to learn from my betters, I altered the famous BigRedKitty's spec for use in melee, and rummaged through my bank to look for stuff I could use under conditions where I don't have aggro. My tanking gun was replaced by Hemet's Elekk Gun, my Madness Card with the Maelstrom Card, and my Vengeance Card with a rotation of trinkets: Core of Ar'kelos, Uniting Charm, Terokkar Tablet of Precision, Bladefist's Breadth. My rings and necklace were replaced, too, trading off tank stats like dodge and parry for attack power and agility.

I used my pet wolf Cafall as my tank, giving him Growl 8, Bite 9, Dash 3, and Howl 4.

With Cafall having aggro, that removed Mongoose Bite and Counterattack as options. Finally, I became what people accuse me of: a player that spams nothing but Raptor Strike. (Well, Kill Command worked its way in there, too.) The lack of aggro also meant there was no reason to have on Aspect of the Monkey. It was Viper, all the way. Good thing, too, because without Resourcefulness I was hurting terribly for mana.

Honestly, this whole setup is horrible for what I do. I fell from a dps range of 550-700 down to 275-400. I was drinking every other fight or three. Cafall had problems holding aggro (though that may be due to my inexperience in letting him hold it). And neither of us were nearly as durable as I've gotten used to.

A build that includes Resourcefulness might be an improvement, but even then I'd still be facing the problem of lower overall dps. On the whole, I think I have to consider the case for Beast Mastery builds closed: I just can't seem to find a way to make them work for the way I've learned to play as a melee hunter.